S’pore will continue to be the ‘world’s top city for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions’: DPM Gan Kim Yong


Deputy Prime Minister and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong expressed confidence that Singapore can host more high-value and world-class meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) in the future. This would help retain the country’s position as the “world’s best MICE city.” 

He was responding to questions from People’s Action Party Members of Parliament during the most recent Parliament session. Cheryl Chan, MP for East Coast GRC, asked about Singapore’s plans to become a competitive destination for MICE. She inquired if a relevant workforce will be available to support Singapore’s ambition to become the world’s best MICE destination and whether infrastructure expansion is expected to achieve the goal. 

Chairperson of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry and MP for Bukit Panjang SMC Liang Eng Hwa asked how Singapore can remain the world’s top destination for MICE events given tight labour markets, higher costs, and a strong Singapore dollar. He inquired about overcoming these challenges and hosting more world-class MICE events without compromising standards or quality. 

Gan Kim Yong said that Singapore’s value proposition as a leading MICE venue is the quality of its infrastructure, services and experiences offered, as well as its global connectivity.  

He pointed out three ways the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will build on its strengths. First, Singapore is “trusted as a neutral venue” to convene talent, ideas, and capital from all over the world.  STB will continue to anchor leading industry events like the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Singapore Fintech Festival, Singapore Airshow, Singapore International Cyber Week and Asia Tech x Singapore. 

Second, as a hub for research, development and technology, Singapore will pursue events that provide a launchpad to advance new ideas, products, and businesses. The 2023 International Trademark Association Annual Meeting Live+ Singapore in May 2023 organised an open innovation challenge that produced winning ideas like an artificial intelligence solution for trademark management and advancing business efficiencies in the industry. 

Third, Singapore aims to become a leading sustainable MICE destination in Asia-Pacific. “We have put in place targets, standards, and certification to achieve this ambition together with our industry partners,” DPM Gan said. 

He said the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP) is a tool the Singapore Tourism Board uses to attract key events to Singapore. SMAP offers privileges to event organisers and MICE delegates, such as discounts on travel logistics and tourist experiences in Singapore. SMAP is fully funded by participating industry partners like Singapore Airlines, the Changi Airport Group, and the Sentosa Development Corporation. 

STB plans to address infrastructure and workforce needs in the MICE sector over the long term, Mr Gan said. 

“We are planning for new MICE spaces as business events evolve in format and scale, even while there is sufficient capacity in existing major MICE venues to meet current demand.” 

Regarding manpower, he noted that the total tourism workforce including that of the MICE industry has recovered to 86 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.  

STB works closely with industry partners, including the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers to ensure Singapore’s MICE workforce continues to upgrade skills to meet evolving needs. For example, STB and the Association launched the Singapore MICE Sustainability Certification process in January to encourage the industry to adopt sustainable practices and improve sustainability competencies. 

STB announced its global campaign to position the Republic as the “World’s Best Mice City” in end-March. 

The first edition of The Meetings Show Asia Pacific, held on April 17 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, drew over 1,000 Mice industry professionals over two days. 

The 18th edition of the Asia Pacific Maritime conference in March saw a record attendance of over 15,700. 

The Singapore Airshow in February—which returned to its full-scale form after six years— attracted almost 60,000 trade visitors. 

The Mice industry contributes significantly to Singapore’s economy, accounting for nearly 1 per cent of its gross domestic product. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it supported over 34,000 jobs and generated an economic value of $3.8 billion.